[ptsefton.com] | [CV & Bio]

Zotero provides cross-platform bibliography solution for authors. Sort of.


If you are regular reader, and you read posts here all the way to the bottom, then you will have seen the previous post, in which there was an actual bibliography. This means that we now have a working if shaky and tentative way to do bibliographies in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org, as part of the ICE-RS project.

I can now use the magnificent Firefox plugin known as Zotero to build a library of references. I find that it works pretty well to auto import for things found via Google scholar. But it's sobering to be subscribed to the forums in Google Reader and to see all the posts like the scary Library gone missing (which turned out to have a reasonably happy ending except that I worry about Cate having all her references for her thesis in Zotero how should she back it all up?).

And thanks to Ian Laurenson who has been doing some work for the ICE project, we now have an OpenOffice.org version of the original Zotero word plugin which solves the issue I noted in my previous post. You can read about progress on the forums. Ian has done a great job with the plugin. He worked out how to use the same codebase for both Writer and Word which both use a kind of Basic, using compiler directives to put platform specific code in where it is needed. Other stuff Ian's been helping with will appear soon.

We have some early prototype Zotero plugin code that works in Word for Windows and Mac and various flavours of OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice sitting in the ICE Subversion repository but I can't recommend that you use any of this yet unless you are very brave and capable of solving your own issues, for one thing you have to use the bleeding-edge developer version of Zotero.

There are some serious issues to be resolved before we can call this a good solution, the main one being the issue of stable IDs for references. At the moment there's no way to share references and have multiple people contribute to formatting a document because as in EndNote the Ids are arbitrary and temporary. We've been discussing options on the Zotero list but no idea yet how long this will take to sort out but I am confident that we'll get there in the end.

More minor issues include working out how to add more citation styles to the plugin and ironing out some the bugs and usability issues.

So thanks to Ian Laurenson (if you need OpenOffice.org customization done he's your man) and to the Zotero team for letting us play with their code!